Following the government’s ‘Living with COVID-19’ announcement and plans, Warrington’s public health leaders have offered advice to keep residents and families safe, stressing that the pandemic is not over and we are still living with the virus.

Warrington, which still has more than 340 cases of coronavirus per 100,000, has seen a steady decrease in people infected with the virus, though case rates are still high.

Whilst the legal need to self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus has ended, alongside self-isolation support payments also ending, the advice until 1 April is that people who test positive should stay at home and self-isolate wherever possible, avoiding contact with other people for at least five full days and continuing to follow this guidance until they receive two negative lateral flow test results on consecutive days.

From 1 April, the government will end free symptom-free and symptomatic testing, apart from for a small number of at-risk groups and those working in social care.

Warrington Borough Council’s director of public health, Thara Raj, said: “Warrington still has high rates of coronavirus and it’s really important that if you have coronavirus, or any of the common symptoms of the virus, that you self-isolate wherever possible.

“Doing this will help Warrington’s rates continue to fall. I know the restrictions that have ended might cause anxiety and apprehension for some residents and their families. If you are able to continue to self-isolate if you have symptoms, and follow the basics of washing your hands and being in well-ventilated spaces, it will help us to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. After all, we could see coronavirus cases surge if we immediately revert back to how we lived our lives before the pandemic.”

Cabinet member for public health, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “I understand the concerns from some residents that the complete relaxation of the coronavirus restrictions has happened quickly.

“We need to acknowledge that the pandemic is not over, and continuing with the behaviours that our residents have so selflessly demonstrated over the last couple of years will really help us to drive case numbers down further and avoid a sudden spike in cases.  

“While the legal restrictions have ended, we still need to follow simple steps if we are to live safely with the virus. That means isolating if you have Covid-like symptoms, just as you would with any other highly infectious disease – you wouldn’t go out and about if you had flu, for example, so it should be no different with coronavirus.

“Of course, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated if you have not yet taken up the offer. There is a jab waiting for you and it’s never too late – whether it’s your first, second or booster dose.”

You can read the government’s Living with COVID plan on the GOV.UK website.


16 August 2023